[Answered] Is uniformity through Uniform Civil Code (UCC) desirable for a nation that is as diverse as India? Provide justifications for your argument.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain why Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is desirable. Also write some issues associated with it.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is one that would be applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. Article 44, one of the Directive Principles of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a UCC for the citizens throughout the territory of India.

Why Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is desirable?

  • The Supreme Court in various judgements has called for the implementation of the UCC. E.g. Shah Bano Begum judgement of 1985.
  • UCC would provide equal status to all citizens.
  • It is commonly observed that personal laws of almost all religions are discriminatory towards women. Men are usually granted upper preferential status in matters of succession and inheritance. It would promote gender parity in Indian society.
  • UCC would accommodate the aspirations of the young population who imbibe liberal ideology. Its implementation would thus support the national integration.
  • UCC will simplify the cumbersome legal matters governed by personal laws. It will also help in speedy disposal of cases and reduce burden on the judiciary.

Issues:        

  • Certain civil laws in all communities were “inseparably connected with religious beliefs and practices”. UCC would come in the way of Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • Constitutional law experts argue that perhaps the framers did not intend total uniformity, which is why personal laws were placed in entry 5 of the Concurrent List, with the power to legislate being given to Parliament and State Assemblies.
  • According to Law commission a unified nation did not necessarily need “uniformity”, and secularism could not contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.
  • There are practical difficulties due to religious and cultural diversity in India across the religions, sects, castes, states etc.
  • Experts often argue that the time is not ripe for Indian society to embrace such UCC.

Major awareness efforts are needed to reform current personal laws. This should be initiated and undertaken by the communities themselves. Legal intervention should be undertaken only if a practice violates fundamental rights of citizens.

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